Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cutting - Preparedness

One of the basic five tools of survial is cutting. If you remember my earlier conversation, I'm wanting to prepare on several levels so cutting for me is a broader subject.
* 1. Is knife or knives. I like a pocket knife and fixed blade for basic daily tasks and that includes livestock chores and such. But a very basic thing for me is a good set of kitchen knives. 
*2. Ax and hatchet.
* 3. Hair cutting supplies
We've talked about 1. and 3. but not 2. and I have two more to add but I'll save them for later.
The kitchen knives, daily task knives, and hair cutting supplies we have under control but the ax and hatchet area needs some work.
Our goals for my husband and for myself evolved as we evaluated our ax and hatchets. I drug out my Boy Scout hatchet my hubby bought me a couple years ago.  We decided that after Christmas he is going to teach me how to sharpen it and with his guidance I will make a leather cover for the blade. That will up my skills level. 
It was Ray Mears, the survivalist again that got us thinking though not quite along the lines he was instructing on u-tube. Kirk is an expert in sharpening knives and in building them but he uses a belt sander to do so. We don't have any sharpening stones to use on knives or hatchets.
This is one of those holes I was talking about in our basic preparedness.
With Kirk's skills, we realized that having an ax and hatchets is good but self-sufficiency means doing it yourself when ever possible. The most basic level of axes and hatchets is then being able to make the tools yourself. It then makes sense that Kirk being a bladesmith should take a little side venture into this area.
Last summer in South Dakota at the ABANA conference Havard Bergland, a renowned Norwegian expert in making knives and axes, suffered from  a heat stroke while giving a demonstration. It was decided that Kirk and his interpreter would continue on with his session while he was checke out at the local hospital. The next day they did the forging session once more under the watchful eye of Havard as he was still a little shaky. At the time, Kirk's interested in making axes was only slight but he had watched Harvard Bergland's u-tube video a couple times before this event. Since then we've thought it over and it might not be a bad idea to study forging and building axes and hatchets a bit further. 

If you've done self-sufficiency any, you know it is impossible to do it all. Skills equate to money saved and can often be turned into a way to generate cash or trade when outsourced to others. The more you can do the more choices you have to generate some extra buying power. In some situations it will be in addition to your regular job and sometimes it will be because you don't have one. Many, many tiimes our skills have saved money and generated a little cash to get us by bumps in or road.
Knowing from past experiences that if you want to be really good at something then you should study the best. With that thought, Kirk bought this beauty by Gransfors Bruks from Sweden. It is an awesome ax. When I picked it up, surprise must of crossed my face for I couldn't believe how light and well balance it is. Now this is an ax I could use. Not that I should. I have a tendency to beat the.... well, you know out of one. My aim isn't so good. I often miss and bang up the handle just below the ax head. I need practice I know but it isn't going to happen really soon since there is much on our to do list and all our logs at present are split.

What I do know is that a good quality tool makes a task so... much easier and I hope Kirk indeed learns much from this ax of Sweden. Coupled with studying this ax is Kirk's lessons from Havard Bergland on traditional Norwegian ax forging and I think Kirk has a pretty good leg up on successfully building axes of our own, to trade or maybe someday sell.

I'd encourage you to also evaluate how your preparedness fairs in the cutting area.

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